Its an exciting time for Indian Cinema: Shabana Azmi

She's known as the iron lady of Bollywood. Having worked for about three decades in movies and in Hollywood also, she has mastered the craft of acting. She's versatile, focused, sharp and can mould herself into any part. Having seen every kind of cinema around, she feels that this is the most exciting time for Indian Cinema. 


While speaking to a leading daily, she mentioned, " Yes it is an exciting time. All kinds of films are being made. People believe, I’m only for art films. That’s not true. In the huge entertainment industry to demand that only one kind of films should be made, is being dictatorial. The audience should have a choice. So you have films, which are totally commercial, you have middle-of-the road cinema and so on. Today most directors are urban bred and have received Western education… Karan Johar, Zoya Akhtar, Farhan Akhtar, Ayan Mukerji. Their sensibilities and their interests lie in this zone. I’ve no problems if they are only making films about the rich. Don’t the rich constitute a part of India’s fabric? Then there are filmmakers like Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Bhardwaj. The village has disappeared from Hindi cinema but it’s been replaced by the small town. The village mattered to directors like Mehboob Khan, Shyam Benegal, Satyajit Ray... because that was their reality. 

However, she says that there is still hope for parallel cinema.  She says, it’s a false notion that parallel cinema is dead. In fact, it’s taken on the new avatar of independent cinema. Parallel cinema doesn’t mean you only make films about villages. It implies a certain sensibility that doesn’t follow box-office formulae. Like Masaan for instance. Another underrated film is Qissa (Indo-German Punjabi film, 2013). Aditya Chopra producing Dum Laga Ke Haisha is also a case in point. If he realises that there’s value in a small town, there’s value in a person who doesn’t look like your conventional heroine or hero, it’s a mark of the changing times. The middle class is becoming big in India, they have money, they have aspirations. All this will be reflected in cinema. 

Directors and producers are often out to depict what's going on in the society. Thus, with the rising of the middle-class and them becoming more empowered (the exact aim of globalization), they choose what they want to watch. They are the target audience, they are who run the economy. Period.